ONE of Salford’s most distinctive voices will be celebrated at The Lowry in March during an evening dedicated to Mark E Smith and The Fall.

Hacienda DJ, author and music journalist, Dave Haslam will discuss the many highs and lows of the band in a conversation with former members Paul and Steve Hanley, along with personal friend of the Broughton-born lyricist, Graham Duff as part of Words Weekend Salford.

“Mark actually used to work at Salford Docks as a shipping clerk and I think the Lowry is more or less where he worked so it seems fitting to be back there 40 years later and celebrating his band,” said Dave.

Formed in 1976, The Fall went on to be one of the most influential bands to emerge from the punk movement with Smith’s caustic lyrics and unique vocals central to their cult appeal until his death in 2018.

“Whenever Mark was interviewed and people started talking to him about Manchester he would correct them and say ‘Salford’,” said Dave.

“He knew they were two very different places and he liked the slang he’d hear in Salford.

“I remember him telling me that his favourite bus was the one that went to Boggart Hole Clough.

“He liked the sound of the language which is similar to another Salford-born writer Shelagh Delaney. They both appreciated the language of the Salford streets.”

The Fall released 32 studio albums and their sheer longevity alone affords them a place in British music’s canon.

"I remember him once telling me that there was one subject which he never really wrote about and that was love," continued Dave. "He certainly wrote about everything else in the world apart from love.

“Mark was a contradictory character which is often the mark of a genius. He loved and hated Salford and Manchester. He would insist on journalists coming up to Manchester to meet him in a bar in the Northern Quarter and then he would spend the whole time slagging off the bar he was in.

"He used to come in the Hacienda and then in interviews he'd claim the Hacienda was full of tourists when in reality he couldn't stay away.

"Having Paul, Graham and Steve at the events mean we can talk about The Fall, but we can also talk about Mark as a man. I think touring with Mark gives them a real insight into his character and maybe a side of him which he kept hidden."

Since The Fall formed in 1976, Smith was the only constant member with all other founding members having left by the end of 1979. Of the 66 musicians who came and went over the band's 40-year existence, about one third played in the band for less than a year.

"Despite the reputation there were actually a lot of band members who stayed with him," said Dave. "He could inspire loyalty. Look at someone like Brix who left the band when her relationship with Mark broke up. Even she went back to The Fall - it wasn't a particularly happy reunion but she did it nonetheless.

"There was always an edge with The Fall and sometimes I think musicians thrive in that environment when you don't quite know what's going to happen next.

"It was like that when you saw them on stage and I guess although there are some musicians who just want an easy life the ones in The Fall knew that wasn't what they were getting."

Dave's personal memories stretch back over numerous interviews and Smith even came to the journalist's wedding.

"I did on stage interviews with him and there was always that sense of unpredictability," said Dave. "There were occasions as a journalist when I probably could have written up my interview with a band before I met them because they were so predictable but when interviewing Mark you had no idea what he would say about any subject or where the chat would spin off to."

Two years on from Smith's death, interest in The Fall and their frontman shows little sign of abating with numerous bands still citing them as an influence.

"They were incredibly influential," added Dave. "There are a lot of American bands who always talk about the debt they have to The Fall. Pavement are the obvious ones and Sonic Youth did a session with John Peel where they only played Fall cover versions. Pixes loved them too.

"Mark could have lived no where else than Salford or North Manchester. He is so rooted in that world - his attitude, his language and yet somehow he connected with audiences across the county and across the world.

"He was a flawed human being but we should celebrate him and remember him."

The Fall: Inside and Out is at The Lowry, Salford Quays on Saturday, March 28. Tickets: thelowry.com / 0343 208 6000